Asia harmonisation faces similar difficulties as EU

Moves by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to harmonise food supplement law in the region could become as complex as those being tackled by the European Union, an industry insider has said.

Simon Pettman, Director of food law consultancy EAS, which launched its Asia office in Singapore this week, said that because most of the regulatory frameworks in the ten countries that make up the (ASEAN) are vastly different from one another, the region faces equal diversities and similar complexities as those currently being tackled in the EU harmonisation process.

Mr Pettman highlighted that while the harmonisation process would bring significant opportunities for the region’s companies and markets, a potential complication for ASEAN is that it does not yet have equivalent pan-ASEAN governmental structures to those in Europe.

“Considering the lack of large governmental structures in ASEAN, such as a regional court, the progress that is being made is very impressive,” said Mr Pettman. “There is no doubt that this harmonisation process will be of huge importance in the region and as a reference point for regulators in the rest of the world.”

With a growth rate in excess of 12 percent SE Asia has one of the fastest growing markets for fortified foods, food supplements and for many other products. Interest across international markets is rapidly growing, and EAS’ recently opened Asia office in Singapore will offer services such as the provision of Pan-Asian regulatory product evaluations, and provide expert regulatory advice for companies and government bodies in the region.

Mr Pettman said: “The services that EAS provides in Europe have not been available in Asia up until now. As well as the interest we’ve had from European, American, and Japanese companies to launch products onto the Asian market, we’d like to help many companies in the region to help overcome the regulatory barriers in Europe. We are looking forward to working with companies and governments in the region.”

For more information about EAS Asia, visit


EAS Europe specialises in regulation on food and nutritional products. It provides companies with regulatory and strategic advice for the marketing and approval of their products in Europe. EAS Europe also advises governments, trade associations and companies on the impact of European and global policy. EAS has offices in Brussels, Italy and Singapore.

The ten countries that make up ASEAN are: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

For more information contact EAS, 50 Rue de l’Association, 1000 Brussels, tel: (+32) (0) 2 218 14 70, email [email protected] or visit

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